About

Violence against women and girls takes many different forms in the Pacific and includes physical and/or sexual violence, sexual exploitation and trafficking, and harmful practices such as sorcery accusation-related violence. Combatting violence against women has been a regional priority for a number of years, with leaders expressing their commitment to eradicate sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in 2009 and reaffirming commitment to gender equality with the Gender Equality Declaration (PDF, 353.1 KB) in 2012.

A number of initiatives to combat SGBV are being progressed by regional and international organisations across the Pacific in partnership with PILON countries. Pacific leaders recognise the need for continued work in this space, with human security, including gender equality, forming a key plank of the Boe Declaration on Regional Security. The Boe Declaration Action Plan reaffirms commitment in the region to eradicate gender based violence and continue to progress the Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development, including Sustainable Development Goal 5 of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – combatting violence against women.

PILON has retained a strategic focus on SGBV since 2013 and continues to partner with others in the region, including the Pacific Community’s Regional Rights Resource Team, to eliminate violence against women. PILON’s current focus is on improving justice system responses to SGBV and ensuring access to justice for women and girls, by ensuring that vulnerable witnesses have appropriate support when giving evidence in Court.

Chair

  • Su’a Hellene Wallwork  (Acting Attorney General, Samoa)

Members

  • American Samoa
  • Australia
  • Cook Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Niue
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu

Upcoming activities

2022
Webinar 2: Practical Realities

Dear PILON members and friends,

We are pleased to invite you to the second webinar in the PILON Sexual and Gender Based Violence Working Group Special Measures Series titled “Webinar 2: Practical Realities”, taking place next week on Friday 20th  May 2022 at 3.00pm Apia time (Friday) / 12noon Canberra time (Friday) / 4.00pm Cook Islands time (Thursday).

In our previous webinar we heard from two senior prosecutors from Fiji and Samoa. It is now time to hear experiences from smaller jurisdictions, to better understand the broader Pacific story.

We will continue to discuss the many barriers to access to justice for victims of sexual and gender-based violence, including the adversarial legal system and in particular cross-examination. As a practical tool, the PILON Sexual and Gender Based Violence Working Group has published Model Provisions and Explanatory Text (Supporting Vulnerable Witnesses in cases involving sexual and gender based violence) to assist Pacific countries with law reform to overcome some of these barriers.

 SPEAKERS

The second webinar in this series will showcase the experiences of two smaller jurisdictions, who will share the practical realities encountered when using special measures:

Cutty Wase is currently the Chief Prosecutor of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. His career has spanned drafting and prosecuting in both the private and public sectors. Beginning as an Assistant Legislative Counsel he became RMI’s Assistant Attorney General, later taking on a Staff Attorney Position through the Micronesian Legal Services Corporation. Chief Prosecutor Wase will share the Marshallese experience of using special measures.

 

Annabel Maxwell-Scott is currently the Deputy Solicitor-General of the Cook Islands.  She oversees all criminal prosecution work ranging from serious sexual violence to drug and fraud prosecutions and advisory work.  Annabel was trained in the UK and admitted to the Bar there in 1996.  She moved to NZ in 2009 and worked with the Public Defence Service before moving into independent practice in 2013 where she predominantly defended serious crime.

 

 

 

 

HOW TO REGISTER

We invite you to register for this free webinar via the following link:

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

We encourage you to share this invite with any colleagues who may benefit from this webinar, including police officers, prosecutors, court staff, victim support services, women support services and other service providers.

Please do not hesitate to contact the PILON Secretariat (pilon@pilonsec.org) should you have any questions.

 

 

 

 

 

Completed activities

2022
Webinar 1: Lessons Learned

 

Dear PILON members and friends

 

I am pleased to invite you to the PILON Sexual and Gender Based Violence Working Group webinar: “The Special Measures Series: Lessons Learned”, taking place on Friday 22 April 2022 at 12:30pm Apia time / 11:30am Suva time / 9:30am Canberra time.

 

In the Pacific region and around the world rates of sexual and gender-based violence are unacceptably high. There are many barriers to access to justice for victims of these crimes, including the adversarial legal system and in particular cross-examination.

As a practical tool, the PILON Sexual and Gender Based Violence Working Group has published Model Provisions and Explanatory Text (Supporting Vulnerable Witnesses in cases involving sexual and gender based violence) to assist Pacific countries with law reform to overcome some of these barriers.

 

SPEAKERS

The first webinar in this three-part series will showcase the work of two senior prosecutors in this space, who will share the lessons they have learned in using special measures:

Ms Juleen J. M Fatiaki,

Principal State Prosecutor is the Manager of the Sexual Crimes Division within the Fijian ODPP. In almost 10 years as a prosecutor Ms Fatiaki has gained extensive experience in the use of special measures in court. Ms Fatiaki has been leading the Sexual Crimes Division for almost 2 years and was previously the Principal Legal Officer of the General Crimes Division.

 

Ms Iliganoa Atoa

Acting Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Prosecution Supreme Court, District Court and Specialized Courts in Samoa. Ms Atoa has been using special measures to support victims since she became a prosecutor in 2014. In her current role as Associate Public Prosecutor Ms Atoa manages and oversees all criminal prosecutions for all offences including sexual violation, family violence, murder, fraud, drugs, and youth court cases.

 

 

HOW TO REGISTER

We invite you to register for this free webinar via the following link:

 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020
PILON Week Webinar – The effects of COVID-19 on sexual and gender based violence in the Pacific

13 November 2020, 2pm – 3pm Samoa Time (WST)

The Pacific Islands Law Officers Network (PILON) hosted a webinar on the impacts of the pandemic on Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Pacific. This event was delivered in partnership with the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre, the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre and the PNG Family Sexual Violence Action Committee.

Recording of this webinar can be found here.

2019
Draft - Explanatory Material for the Model Provisions on Special Measures for Vulnerable Witnesses

The PILON SGBV Working Group is currently developing explanatory material for the Model Provisions on special measures for vulnerable witnesses that were developed by the working group in 2019.
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2019
Draft - Model Provisions for Vulnerable Witnesses for amending Evidence or Criminal Procedures Acts to incorporate special measures for vulnerable witnesses to SGBV offences

This resource contains model provisions for countries to consider including in Evidence Acts, or Criminal Procedure Codes, to ensure that special measures can be accessed by vulnerable witnesses when appearing in Court. The provisions also propose countries consider overturning some gender-biased evidence requirements contained in common law.

Download (PDF, 817.6 KB)

General Principles for obtaining the best evidence in SGBV matters

The General Principles are intended to support prosecutors, police, court staff and other service providers, with things to consider when a vulnerable witness, such a child or survivor of sexual assault, is attending court.

Download (PDF, 3.0 MB)

Workshop: Quality Evidence without Re-Victimisation: Promoting Special Measures for Vulnerable SGBV Complainants

25-27 March 2019, Apia, Samoa

Download workshop agenda (PDF, 743.7 KB)

2015
Victim Impact Statement Template

This is a template Victim Impact Statement to assist countries with recording and submitting victim impact statements to Court in SGBV (and other criminal) matters.

Download (DOCX, 27.1 KB)

Monitoring and Evaluating SGBV Legislation, Monitoring and Evaluating – Victim Impact Statements

These templates have been created to assist countries with monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of three specific aspects of SGBV legislation – protection/police safety orders, prosecutions and victim impact statements. The report provides guidance on how to use the templates and links to additional resources to assist with monitoring and evaluation.

Download PDF for printing (PDF, 1.6 MB) Download document for editing (DOCX, 929.4 KB)

SGBV - Best Practices Research

This report contains an overview of best practices for establishing mechanisms and processes with justice systems to provide access to justice for women and girls.

Download (PDF, 786.8 KB)

Further learning resources

For further resources and useful tips in relation to SGBV, please visit the Digital Library.

Photos